Blog Post #598 – Wesdome Fined $130,000 After Workers Suffer Injuries

Blog Post #598 – Wesdome Fined $130,000 After Workers Suffer Injuries

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd. has been convicted in two separate cases involving injuries to workers and fined a combined total of $130,000.

In the first case, on June 2, 2011, a worker fell at the mill’s metal precipitation plant, which removes metal from mine tailings. A chemical used in the water treatment process was present and the chemical, floculante, is known to create a slip hazard. Due to the presence of floculante, the worker slipped while walking on plastic screening. The worker suffered broken bones.

Wesdome pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that a safe means of access was provided where workers are required to work, operate, maintain or service equipment. Wesdome was fined $60,000, as well as a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

In the second case, on March 28, 2012, a crew of three workers was conducting repair and maintenance to an ore crusher in the mill. They were working in an area of the mill where a crusher and a cyanide solution tank are located. The cyanide solution is used in processing ore and helps to separate gold from rock.

A worker was washing a part of the crusher at floor level and inadvertently stepped into a hole that was not visible because the area was covered with a few inches of dirty water. Unknown to the worker, the hole contained sodium cyanide and sodium hydroxide as well as water. In stepping into the hole, the worker’s boot was filled with liquid. As a result the worker suffered from cyanide poisoning and chemical burns to the leg.

The court found that the company failed to have an alarm installed to warn workers of the presence of poisonous cyanide gas which would result during overflows and spills.

Wesdome was fined $70,000 as well as the 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge required by the Provincial Offences Act. The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Liette Hunter.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

In the June 2011 case Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“The employer shall,

(c) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

In the March 2012 case Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd. was found guilty of violating section 252, subsection (3) of the Ontario regulation 854/90, (Mines and Mining Plants) which states,

“Where in a mining plant the atmosphere may contain chemical or physical agents that are likely to endanger the health and safety of a worker, equipment for the detection of such agents shall be provided and such equipment shall be readily accessible.”

In the March 2012 case Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the OHSA which states,

“The employer shall,

(c) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

How many accidents have to happen until Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd. will hire the right people who have a safety background and will ensure the safety of their people? All workers have a right to work in a safe environment. If Wesdome decides otherwise then maybe the MOL needs to re-visit them, regularly, to bring them into the new millennium.

Most employers know the truth in the workplace. A safe workplace can be a profitable one. The reverse is also true.

Please ensure that your management team understands this and includes safety in all there operating procedures before this happens to you.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

Dan
Share